Many carousels are a traditional horse design, some have beautifully carved endangered animals. Some animals gently rise up and down, while others stand still. We all have our favorites, so round and round you go on a ride all members of the family will enjoy.
Three carousels have been housed in Golden Gate Park near the Koret Children’s Quarter since the playground opened. The current carousel was built in 1914 by the Herschell-Spillman Company and operated at amusement parks in Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, before it was installed in Golden Gate Park in 1940 after a stint at the World’s Fair on Treasure Island. It was shut down in 1977 and restored, reopening in 1984. The carousel’s 62 colorfully painted menagerie animals include a dragon, camel, and goat as well as horses, frogs, dogs, roosters, and pigs. Painted panels inside the carousel depict Bay Area landscapes.
To reserve the picnic area adjacent to the carousel and playground, please call (415) 831-5500.
The Zoo’s Carousel, named to honor Bay Area philanthropist, Eugene Friend, is one of the last machines constructed by Gustav's son, William H. Dentzel. Built in 1921, it showcases the lavish, expensive, intricately detailed, hand-carved wooden artwork that disappeared during the Great Depression of the 1930s (modern carousels are made of cast metal and fiberglass). The Dentzel Carousel came to the Zoo in 1925 from the defunct Pacific City Amusement Park in Burlingame and was one of the Zoo’s first attractions, as well as the first “animal attraction” that visitors saw and heard as they passed through the former Sloat gate entrance. The Carousel’s two chariots and 50 animals, which include horses, giraffes, ostriches, tigers, lions, pigs, rabbits, cats and a reindeer, are embellished with whimsical details and jewels that individualize each of them. This rare menagerie Carousel is one of only 14 in the world, and is one of only seven Dentzel Carousels remaining in the United States.
Take a closer look at the Carousel on your next Zoo visit and you’ll be looking back in time. A treasured symbol of what links the past with the present, it’s something to cherish for the future.
OPEN DAILY 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
$4 per person (good for two consecutive rides) | $3 with paid museum admission
Handcrafted in Italy, the San Francisco Carousel is intricately hand-painted with famous San Francisco landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, Chinatown, Lombard Street, Alcatraz and the popular California sea lions at PIER 39, making it the only carousel in San Francisco (that we are aware of) that has artistic renderings of the city.
The carousel features 1,800 twinkling LED lights and 30+ animals to ride. Throughout the ride, patrons hear traditional organ music and see PIER 39’s bustling promenade.
Bay End of PIER 39, Level 1
Famed for its beauty and detail, and dramatically framed by the fountains inside the reflection pond, Carousel Columbia has become the perfect family photo for millions of California’s Great America guests. The golden spire that points to the sky is the perfect signature for the world’s tallest carousel.
This mini-version of the all-time classic fair ride carousel will charm and delight your favorite little lion tamers. Unlike a traditional horse design, this merry-go-round has beautifully carved animals from all over the animal kingdom, including an elephant, tiger, and a zebra or two! So hop on your favorite jungle animal and ride this smooth and slow-paced carousel, sized down for younger riders. Some animals gently rise up and down, while others stand still for a more stable ride. Round and round you go, on a calmly-paced ride scaled down for little hands and feet.
At night, the carousel turns bright with old fashioned golden lights, casting a truly magical glow. There’s a reason the carousel is one of the most popular rides in the history of amusement parks. Round you go to the music, enjoying for the first time, a sure favorite for a lifetime.
Herschell Spillman merry-go-round in Tilden Regional Park is a splendid antique carousel with hand-carved and beautifully painted wooden carousel animals to ride. The calliope-style music will make any child's heart sing.
There is a fee*: $3.50 per ride; $20 for 7-ride ticket book. *Fees are subject to change without notice.
TrainTown's amusement rides are all railroad themed. They are painted in railroad colors and fitted with train attire. Iron Horse Carousel - 44" to ride alone, all heights OK with adult
Prices: $3.75 per coupon or 5 coupons for $14.75
*One coupon per person, per ride, including babies of all ages & adults accompanying their children
The Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad is committed to providing a great experience to children and adults alike. Ride aboard a real steam engine as it goes through beautiful Oak Meadow and Vasona Parks. Go round and round on 106 year-old carousel.
Watch your child's eyes light up with excitement as they ride their favorite horse to the finish line.
Sorry moms and dads this is an Antique Children's Carousel so we can't ride the horses. However, you are welcome to stand next to your child if they are not tall enough to ride alone and if so, you can still stand next to them or sit on one of the bench seats.
*Riders must be 40" to ride alone.
*Riders under 40" will need an adult to accompany you and stand next to the horse the child is on.
* Prices and times were confirmed at the time this article was published. Information is subject to change.